Precious memories of grandchildren are scattered like stardust in my mind. I got to be there when Brandon was born at home. A steady stream of family and friends dropped by or checked progress by phone and everyone was eager to welcome him.
As a toddler Brandon developed a fascination for vacuum cleaners and hunted them down diligently in his house or any place he visited. No vacuum or closet that might be hiding one was safe during this time.
When just a child he'd graciously welcome me to to his home and offer me a chair or something to drink. It was an unusual trait for one so young and made his granny feel pretty special. Perhaps that was an early indication of the generous and caring nature he was capable of as he grew older.
For a little while I drove him to his parents place of work after school and the one on one time was a lot of fun. One day, though, Brandon became overwhelmingly curious about the car stick shift. He suddenly reached over and shifted it into neutral as we were driving down a main road. He said he just wanted to see how it worked.
He exhibited quite a toughness for cold and pain from an early age, going shoeless and wearing shorts on cold days. Once he fell from some playground equipment, breaking his hip. He was so stoic that no one knew how badly he was hurt until his muscles began to spasm from the injury.
Few could beat Brandon on waking early and cheerfully at the crack of dawn. It was a bit of a problem for Santa Claus now and then at Christmas. Nothing rivaled the sheer joy he took in his birthdays either, He planned and dreamed about them far in advance and always knew just how he wanted to celebrate.
I was proud of how well he learned the scriptures as a young man attending seminary. With pride I also watched him go on to become an Eagle Scout and serve a church mission. He fulfilled a personal goal by being able to attend church general conference in Utah.
When we talked on the phone Brandon often expressed how much he cared for his family. The love of his mom and dad and the comradeship of his brothers was a steady anchor and source of gladness for him. Sometimes we discussed current events. He enjoyed following the news and had his own strong opinions about politics.
I will always remember his infectious laugh, goofy sense of humor, big sweet hugs, and special spirit with happiness and gratitude that I could share his life. His journey is one to be celebrated, even though it ended early. My heart is broken, but the gospel teaches us that we can be reunited one day. The joy of that reunion will far surpass how much his grandmother will miss him until then.